Illinois Is Essentially Experiencing Its Own Private Great Depression

 

The state of Illinois has not passed a budget for close to three years.

Arguably it’s just as well because Illinois budgets for decades have been nothing but a moth-eaten collection of lies, one time deficits repeated endlessly, and financial wizardry statements designed to disguise Illinois’ real problems: failure to rein in spending coupled with a very business unfriendly environment.

As Illinois’ bond rating careens towards junk, Illinois Unpaid Bills Jumped to $14.3 Billion. Today, the state told contractors to halt roadwork other that required for safety. Continue reading

Ex-GAO head: US debt is three times more than you think

The former U.S. comptroller general says the real U.S. debt is closer to about $65 trillion than the oft-cited figure of $18 trillion.

Dave Walker, who headed the Government Accountability Office (GAO) under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, said when you add up all of the nation’s unfunded liabilities, the national debt is more than three times the number generally advertised. Continue reading

Greek Crisis Still Simmering

The Greek crisis is still far from being solved with Athens struggling to implement the reforms it promised in order to receive the latest round of bailouts from the European Union. So far, Greece has only followed through on 14 out of the 48 reforms needed to receive the €86 billion (us$95 billion) promised in the third bailout agreement made in August. Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Tuesday that European creditors are planning to delay the October payment of $3.3 billion, with the planned $27.6 billion bailout payment to recapitalize Greece’s banks also in jeopardy.

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‘We have been betrayed!’ Protest turns violent as Greece votes

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Athens (AFP) – Firebombs thrown by furious anti-austerity protesters exploded in front of Greece’s parliament Wednesday as anger over a new bailout deal spilled onto the streets of the capital.

As lawmakers prepared to vote on the unpopular deal, police fired tear gas to push back dozens of hooded and masked protesters, who threw rocks and stones as they chanted angrily in Syntagma square.

“We have been betrayed!” shouted a man in a balaclava, as police used pepper spray and gas to stop a crowd breaching a security line blocking off the road to the prime minister’s office. Continue reading

Collapse of Greece is Part of German Plan to Change Eurozone – Varoufakis

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has an ambitious plan to change the European Monetary Union and the collapse of Greece was part of it, former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis wrote in an article.

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Greece capitulates at EU summit

At the cost of national sovereignty and against the will of the Greek people, who just last week voted no in a referendum, the land where democracy was born capitulates and falls under dictatorship.

In politics, when two parties (or more) with starkly contrasting ideologies (i.e. Republicans and Democrats) agree on a deal, 99.9% of the time it’s the citizens who pay the price.

Don’t expect the Marxist Tsipras government to stay in power long.

 

A Greek exit from the eurozone has been avoided after a weekend of tough talks, but the political cost of arriving at a deal is likely to be felt for years to come.

After 18 hours of negotiations, culimnating six months of wider talks, euro leaders emerged bleary-eyed on Monday morning (13 July) to announce a deal that will, eventually, see Greece get a new bailout if it takes painful reforms and if it agrees to intense scrutiny at every step of the way.

The immediate result was summed up by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

“There will be no Grexit”, he said. Continue reading

IMF admits: we failed to realise the damage austerity would do to Greece

The International Monetary Fund admitted it had failed to realise the damage austerity would do to Greece as the Washington-based organisation catalogued mistakes made during the bailout of the stricken eurozone country.

In an assessment of the rescue conducted jointly with the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European commission, the IMF said it had been forced to override its normal rules for providing financial assistance in order to put money into Greece.

Fund officials had severe doubts about whether Greece’s debt would be sustainable even after the first bailout was provided in May 2010 and only agreed to the plan because of fears of contagion. Continue reading

Greece moves closer to eurozone exit after delaying €300m repayment to IMF

Athens takes creditor by surprise, saying it will bundle together €1.6bn of debt payments due to International Monetary Fund and settle up on 30 June

Greece has moved closer to default and possible exit from the eurozone after telling the International Monetary Fund it would not be making a debt repayment of €300m (£219m) due on Friday.

A crisis that has been going on for more than five years entered a new phase when Athens surprised the IMF by saying it intended to bundle up four payments in June totalling €1.6bn and make them all at the end of the month.

The move came as the Greek government reacted angrily to what was seen as an ultimatum from its creditors – including the IMF – that demanded further austerity and unpopular reforms to VAT, pensions and wage bargaining as the price for €7.2bn in fresh financial help.

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EU to tell Greece time, patience running out

Essentially, Germany enacted good parenting skills and let Greece with its defiant belligerence cry itself into fatigue like a cranky baby for all the world to see. Germany still gave them what they wanted (bailouts) for a limited time in a passive aggressive manner to publicly show Greece overplayed its cards in hand.  Now we’re seeing a new game plan, and that’s to say the screws will be tightened on Greece now that other EU member nations are getting fed up with the whining and desperate tactics, such as playing the Nazi reparations card or kicking the Troika out. However, make no mistake about it, there are no innocent parties, the Euro was designed to fail and all roads still lead back to Berlin which has the entire European continent where it wants it: Under its control.

 

Euro zone leaders will tell Greece on Thursday that time and patience are running out for its leftist-led government to implement agreed reforms to avert a looming cash crunch that could force it out of the single currency.

“I will repeat to him what I’ve already told him twice: Greece must undertake the necessary reforms, Greece must ensure that the commitments it made to the Eurogroup in 2012 and more recently are followed up on,”European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told France’s Europe 1 radio. Continue reading

Greece threatens new elections if eurozone rejects planned reforms

Athens’ finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, says referendum or new election on fiscal policy is possible if deadlock remains

Racheting up the pressure ahead of a crucial meeting of his eurozone counterparts on Monday, the Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, said the leftist-led government would hold a plebiscite on fiscal policy if faced with deadlock.

“We are not attached to our posts. If needed, if we encounter implacability, we will resort to the Greek people either through elections or a referendum,” he told Italy’s Il Corriere della Sera in an interview on Sunday. Continue reading

West’s agri-giants snap up Ukraine

OAKLAND, United States – At the same time as the United States, Canada and the European Union announced a set of new sanctions against Russia in mid-December last year, Ukraine received US$350 million in US military aid, coming on top of a $1 billion aid package approved by the US Congress in March 2014.

Western governments’ further involvement in the Ukraine conflict signals their confidence in the cabinet appointed by the new government earlier in December 2014. This new government is unique given that three of its most important ministries were granted to foreign-born individuals who received Ukrainian citizenship just hours before their appointment. Continue reading